Chances are you’ve already created many helpful blog posts, case studies, ebooks, and webinars in order to help educate your potential customers, so there is no need to convince you that content marketing works. But, one question remains: Are you maximizing their potential for lead generation across all of your channels?
Today’s prospects independently research products and services before making a purchase, which creates numerous interaction touch-points. Now, organizations are starting to realize the importance of personalizing those touch-points and providing an engaging, valuable experience for each visitor.
But realizing the importance is different than actually implementing a personalized experience. Let’s take a look at the 10 steps to help you build a successful personalization strategy:
Step 1: Follow the 3 Ws of Personalization
Think journalists are the only ones who live by Ws? Think again. Marketers have their own version—the 3 Ws to consider before launching a campaign:
- Who: Who are your key audiences, and what are the defining characteristics of your target audiences? Examine attributes such as geo-location, company size or industry, title/role, and the stage in the buyer’s journey.
- What: What are you personalizing? Determine which content assets are most valuable to your ideal persona, such as blog posts or case studies.
- Where: On which channel are you personalizing? (website, mobile, ads, etc.)
Step 2: Choose Your Use Cases Wisely
What goal are you trying to achieve with personalization? For example, you may be looking to generate new leads or nurture existing leads and further educate them.
Start by choosing only two or three use cases that make the most sense or will have the most impact on your business. If you’re B2B, you can consider employing account-based marketing (ABM) to target specific companies, industries, or even personas that are “high-value.” However, for B2Cs, the focus can be on engaging consumers based on location, behavior, or past purchasing history or interactions with your brand.
Step 3: Take a Closer Look at Your Use Cases
After you’ve selected a few use cases to focus on, go one step further by detailing the specifics. For instance, for some companies this may entail listing account names or regions that are most valuable to your business. For others, you can zoom-in on a particular behavior or specific product interest.
Step 4: Get Your Analytics in Place
Before starting to run any campaigns, determine what you’re going to measure and how. To get started:
- Establish Analytics: This can help you understand how each key audience interacts with you. Set up your measurements to determine baseline metrics for the different verticals and audiences and start testing personalization campaign results to measure uplift.
- Create Segments: Track performance by checking how many visitors from each specific segment visit your website, how they behave on-site, and what type of content they prefer.
Step 5: Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose
Content marketing is the fuel that drives personalization success. Instead of creating tons of new customized content, make the most of existing assets by recreating particular sections, changing visuals, or modifying CTAs. The trick is tho repurpose what you have and tweak it to each particular segment.
Once you’re equipped with all the assets, that’s where content recommendation engines (CRE), such as Marketo’s, step in. CREs identify all of the content you have, learn what works best for specific users, and then leverage this machine learning to predict and recommend the most relevant asset to each visitor.
Step 6: Always Keep the Customer Journey in Mind
In order to push prospects down the sales funnel, you’ll need to first map out your unique buyer’s journey. Based on your visitor’s stage, you’ll want to identify content that is the most relevant and suitable for that point. For example, with early stage buyers and prospects, hold off with case studies or gated content, and start with an asset that’s easier to consume, such as an infographic or blog post.
Step 7: Use Web Nurturing to Draw Visitors Back
You’re probably familiar with email nurturing, but what about web nurturing?
Keep visitors coming back by serving personalized ads on social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn or other websites they frequent via remarketing ads. Adding web and ad interactions to existing email nurture campaigns can increase the effectiveness of your programs, and as a result, drive up conversions and engagement.
Step 8: Super Charge Your Ad Performance with Data
It’s not just about serving ads to prospects across multiple platforms—it’s about retargeting them with the right ads.
Tools such as Marketo’s Ad Bridge make this simple; you can “reel” visitors back to your site by suggesting new and extremely relevant content to them even when they’re visiting other sites. Personalized ads are the most effective way to show prospects that you know exactly what they’re looking for—and that you want to help them find it.
Step 9: Don’t Forget to A/B Test Your Campaigns!
You know the drill; without A/B testing, you’ll never know what works (and what doesn’t) in your personalization campaigns. So, what kind of metrics should you be examining up close?
- Ads: Check click-though and conversion rates for ad placements. Use offline event analytics.
- Web Engagement: Did the personalized CTAs and content drive engagement, and lead to more page views? Did you convert more anonymous prospects into qualified leads?
- Sales Feedback: Consult with sales on the quality of the leads specifically from personalization campaigns.
Once you collect the data, use it to optimize and improve future campaigns.
Step 10: Create Reports to Help Your Sales Team
Personalization is an excellent way to push prospects down the funnel, but once they turn into leads, it’s a marketer’s responsibility to turn them over to sales. Use the same segmentation capabilities to provide your sales teams with real time sales intelligence about their target customers
The best way to do this is to create reports from your campaigns, such as:
- Key Organizations: Are certain companies showing more interest in your website?
- Key Leads and Accounts: Have you identified specific decision makers in certain sales territories?
- Product Interest and Behavior: What was this lead’s main interest and what drove him to your website? What was the context of his interest?
Content personalization is essential in 2015 (and beyond). In fact, DemandGen Report found that leads who are nurtured with personalized content produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities.
If you liked this post and are looking for a more in-depth tutorial on creating a winning real-time personalization strategy, download our recent ebook, 10 Steps for a Successful Personalized Web Engagement Strategy.